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SELF CARE AND ORGANISATION DEVELOPMENT

Self care skills are the everyday tasks undertaken to be ready to participate in life activities
(including dressing, eating, cleaning teeth and more.). They are often referred to as the
activities of daily living (ADLs). While these are typically supported by adults in young
children, it is expected that children develop independence in these as they mature.
Organisation involves the ability to establish the tasks that you need to do, by when and how.
Part of organisation is understanding the requirements of the task. Organisation is an
important skill required to follow daily routines and complete self care activities.

Developmental milestones
Tracking objects with eyes
Coordinating
suck,
swallow,
breath
sequence, tongue is cupped, forward
rhythmical movements of the tongue, and
jaw consistently moves up and down in a
coordinated pattern
Sleeping for 4-10 hour intervals
Communicating hunger, fear or discomfort
through crying

May have difficulty with breast feeding


May have difficulties settling to sleep
May cry often

Playing for 2-3 minutes with a single toy

Drinking from a cup

May have difficulties settling and may


wake often during the night
May have difficulties socialising with
parents and joint attention
May struggle to copy and learn from
others due to poor understanding and
attention
May have difficulties feeding self
May have difficulties holding onto and
drinking from a cup or bottle
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods

6-12 months

Age

0-6 months

Note: Each stage of development assumes that the preceding stages have been successfully
achieved.

Possible implications
if milestones not achieved

Reaching for nearby objects


Tracking objects with eyes

Sleeping 10-12 hours with only 1


awakening
Tolerating a range of different textured
foods
Holding bottle or cup independently
Using tongue to move food around mouth
Feeding self small crackers or other small
pieces of food

Kid Sense Child Development 2013

childdevelopment.com.au

Ph 1300 66 00 67

Age

Developmental milestones

Possible implications
if milestones not achieved

Distinguishing

between
edible
and
inedible objects (18 months)
Looking in the right spot for hidden
objects
Playing next to children

1-2 years

Imitating adult behaviour


Engaging in imaginative play
Has an awareness of a parents approval
or disapproval of their actions
Understanding common dangers of hot
objects, stairs, glass
Regularly checking in with adults/carers

Tolerating nappy changes


Settling themselves to sleep at night or

May have difficulties socialising with


parents and joint attention
May struggle to copy and learn from
others due to poor understanding and
attention
May have delayed play skills e.g. show
little interest in toys
May have difficulty learning self care
tasks such as brushing teeth and taking
off shoes and socks
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods
May have difficulties settling and may
wake often during the night

during the day


Attempting to brush teeth

Knowing where familiar items are kept


Removing own shoes and socks
Cooperating with dressing by extending
an arm or leg

Using toilet with assistance and having


daytime control
Having an awareness of a parents
approval or disapproval of their actions
Understanding common dangers of hot
objects, stairs, glass

Settling themselves to sleep at night or

2-3 years

during the day


Sitting to look at a book independently

Unbuttoning large buttons


Expressing emotions
Tolerating a range of different textured
foods

Engaging in imaginative play


Distinguishing between urination

and
bowel movements, and names correctly

May struggle to copy and learn from


others due to poor understanding and
attention
May
have
difficulties
following
instructions at home/child care
May demonstrate delayed play skills
May demonstrate difficulties with toilet
training
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods (e.g. picky eater)
May demonstrated difficulties feeding
self
May demonstrated difficulties learning to
undress self
May have difficulties getting to sleep or
sleeping through the night

Using a napkin to wipe face and hands


Feeding self simple meals using a fork or
spoon

Taking socks and shoes off


Enjoying/tolerating messy play
Knowing where familiar items are kept
Attempting to brush teeth

Kid Sense Child Development 2013

childdevelopment.com.au

Ph 1300 66 00 67

Age

Developmental milestones

Possible implications
if milestones not achieved

Having

an awareness of a parents
approval or disapproval of their actions

Understanding common dangers of hot


objects, stairs, glass
Sitting to look at a book independently

Unbuttoning large buttons


Expressing emotions
Tolerating a range of different textured
foods

Engaging in imaginative play


Distinguishing between urination

and
bowel movements, and names correctly

Using a napkin to wipe face and hands


Feeding self simple meals using a fork or
3-4 years

spoon

Taking shoes and socks off

Using a napkin to wipe face and hands

Enjoying/tolerating messy play

May have difficulties socialising with


peers
May have delayed play skills
May struggle to copy and learn from
others due to poor understanding and
attention
May
have
difficulties
following
instructions
at
home,
childcare,
kindergarten, pre-school
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods (e.g. picky eater)
May
have
difficulties
maintaining
attention
May have difficulties with toilet training
May have difficulties with dressing and
feeding
May have difficulties getting to sleep or
sleeping through the night

Knowing where familiar items are kept


Attempting to brush teeth
Feeding self without difficulty

Tolerating different clothing textures,


seams, tags
Independently packing items away
Toileting independently
Knowing where familiar items are kept

Dressing and undressing self (only


requiring assistance with laces, buttons,
and other fasteners in awkward places)
Playing with 2 or 3 children in a group

Brushing teeth independently


Taking turns
Settling themselves to sleep at night or
during the day

Kid Sense Child Development 2013

childdevelopment.com.au

Ph 1300 66 00 67

4-5 years

Age

Developmental milestones

Possible implications
if milestones not achieved

Using a napkin to wipe face and hands

May have difficulties socialising


May have delayed play skills
May struggle to copy and learn from
others due to poor understanding and
attention
May
have
difficulties
following
instructions at home, kindergarten
May have difficulties expressing wants,
needs, thoughts and ideas
May have difficulties sitting still
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods (e.g. picky eater)
May have difficulties with self care tasks
such as dressing, feeding and toileting

Settling themselves to sleep at night


Independently packing items away
Developing friendships
Expressing emotions
Following rules
Knowing where familiar items are kept
Toileting independently
Choosing weather appropriate clothes
Dressing self independently
Feeding self without difficulty
Taking turns
Playing with 4 or 5 children in a group
Tolerating different
seams, tags

clothing

textures,

Dressing independently
Morning routine at school (putting bag
away, swapping readers, putting drink
bottle in correct spot)

Feeding self without difficulty


Expressing emotions
Opening lunch boxes, zip lock bags, food
5-6 years

packaging

Sitting

at a desk, following teacher


instruction, and independently doing
simple in-class assignments
Coping in busy/noisy environments

Tolerating

different clothing textures,


seams, tags
Settling independently for sleep

Packing a bag for school or other outings


with assistance

Kid Sense Child Development 2013

May have difficulties socialising


May have delayed play skills
May
have
poor
attention
and
concentration
May
have
difficulties
following
instructions at home, school
May have difficulties following routines
May
have
difficulties
expressing
thoughts and ideas verbally and in
written form
May be easily distracted and have
difficulty sitting still
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods (e.g. picky eater)
May demonstrate poor organisational
skills
May demonstrated delayed fine motor
skills
May demonstrate difficulties coping in
busy environments
May have difficulties with self care tasks
such as dressing, feeding and toileting

childdevelopment.com.au

Ph 1300 66 00 67

Age

Developmental milestones

Possible implications
if milestones not achieved

Opening lunch boxes, zip lock bags, food

May have difficulties socialising


May
have
poor
attention
and
concentration
May
have
difficulties
following
instructions at home, school
May
have
difficulties
expressing
thoughts and ideas verbally and in
written form
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods (e.g. picky eater)
May be easily distracted and have
difficulty sitting still
May demonstrate poor organisational
skills.
May demonstrated delayed fine motor
skills
May demonstrate difficulties coping in
busy environments
May have difficulties with self care tasks
such as dressing, feeding and toileting

packaging

Independently getting self to sleep and


sleeping through the night
Eating a range of food and tolerating
different textures
Showering independently

Packing a bag for school or other outings

6-7 years

with little assistance/prompting


Expressing emotions

Morning routine at school (putting bag


away, swapping readers, putting drink
bottle in correct spot)

Independently toileting during the day


and at night
Coping in busy/noisy environments

Telling the time


Feeding self without difficulty
Knowing where their body is in time and
space to coordinate body movements for
ball skills
Playing with 4 or 5 children in a group

Inhibiting the need to talk/ask questions


Preparing simple meals (e. g. cereal)
Opening lunch boxes, zip lock bags, food
packaging

Packing a bag for school or other outings


with little assistance/prompting
Recalling events and describing them

7-8 years

Expressing emotions
Remembering a sentence to write that
was just thought about or told
Attending for longer periods of time

Sitting still (e.g. in class, at mealtimes)


Coping in busy/noisy environments
Showering independently
Taking on more responsibilities e.g.
chores

Understanding money
Telling the time and displaying time
management skills

Inhibiting the need to talk/ask questions


Preparing simple meals (e.g. cereal,

May have difficulties socialising


May have poor attention and
concentration
May have difficulties following
instructions at home, school
May have difficulties expressing
thoughts and ideas verbally and in
written form
May have difficulty tolerating different
textured foods (e.g. picky eater)
May be easily distracted and have
difficulty sitting still
May demonstrate poor organisational
skills.
May demonstrated delayed fine motor
skills
May demonstrate difficulties coping in
busy environments
May have difficulties with self care tasks
such as dressing, feeding and toileting

sandwich)

Kid Sense Child Development 2013

childdevelopment.com.au

Ph 1300 66 00 67